Monday, February 28, 2011

Principal's Retirement

On Tuesday, all the teachers gathered at a restaurant a short bus trip away from the school to celebrate and congratulate our principal on his retirement.

I have generally only good feelings associated with the principal. In my time here, he's treated the native speakers well and has taken care of us to the extent that an administrator can or does. Realistically, Ridia is the one taking care of us, but he gives his approval, and that's more than a lot of my friends can say.

He did some strange things during the last few months of his time here that give us a lesser opinion of him. He made our secretaries do a lot of his personal work, such as sending out his daughter's wedding invitations or helping to put together a CD of him playing harmonica. The thing that really bugs me is he made our afternoon classes all 50 minutes. We had the luxury of 40 minute classes before, which is an ideal time for keeping students' attention and getting things done. I'm not looking forward to an extra 10 minutes each class.

Other than those weird things, he seemed like a good dude. I have no real complaints about him that shouldn't more realistically be directed at the bureaucracy of schools and the department of education.

So we celebrated his time with us and told him good luck in the future. We even topped off dinner with a little noraebang trip. I put my noraebang skills on display for the teachers once again and had a really good time.

Anyway, thank you to Principal Kim for everything. I hope your harmonica career takes off!

Check out more pics here!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Jjong and Popper had extra tickets to go skiing and generously invited Jeong Mi and me. It was not only my first trip to a ski resort in South Korea, but my first EVER trip to a ski resort.

We headed out on Saturday to Jisan Ski Resort for a 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. super ski fun time. The place is about 45 minutes to an hour from Incheon, so it's not a bad trip at all.

We got there and rented all our gear. For 32,000 won, they deck you out in snow suit, skiis/boards, gloves, goggles and whatever else you might need. I got the manliest gear they had.

After we got our equipment, we headed to the mountain. It's a fairly small resort with 7 different courses of varying degrees of difficulty. The best one -- and the one I wiped out on -- is basically just a straight down drop. It hit some ice on it and it was hello snow buffet to my mouth.

Jeong Mi had a rough time on the snowboard, so I think she'll change it up next time, but she's gone skiing before and wanted to try something new.

It was another great new experience for me here in Korea. Big thanks to Popper and Jjong for inviting us along. It was awesome.

Check out all the pics here!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One-year Anniversary

Valentine's Day was our one-year anniversary together. We just went out for some galbi and kept things really low-key. It was nice, however, because our rings were finished and we picked them up that day.

As you can see, the rings are really simple. They're white gold bands, with a little message engraved on the inside. Also, yes, they do match.

Check out a few more pics of the evening here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Proposal (and Tacos)

We invited a big group of our friends over on Saturday for tacos. Mexican food -- good Mexican food -- is hard to come by in Korea. There are a couple of good restaurants in Bucheon and Seoul, but that involves traveling, and they're a bit pricey.

So thanks to my parents and Bryan's parents, and Jeong Mi, we whipped up our own meat with some taco seasoning, shredded our own cheese, sliced up the veggies and ordered hard shells and sour cream. The food was great and everyone had a good time.

Oh yeah, I also proposed to Jeong Mi. I decided that in front of our buds would be a great time for it. She was really surprised, and she did, in fact, say yes!

And Bryan got it all on video!

[Translation: "Jeong Mi, I will love you until I die and will always be with you. Will you marry me?"]

I've already posted it on Facebook, so by the time this gets there, it'll be old news to you. But it's still good news! Haha.

Anyway, check out the taco-y pics here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sollal and the Kindness of Jeong Mi's Family

I was so busy getting ready to go back to work, that I left out a really important part of my vacation. That important part is Sollal.

Sollal is the Chinese New Year and one of the two big family holidays in South Korea. As you remember, I went to my first family Chuseok earlier in the year. I was fortunate enough to be invited once again to Jeong Mi's parents' house for Sollal.

Jeong Mi's family went traditional and wore hanboks, the traditional Korean clothing. I just had a tie and sweater. Oh well. Maybe next year.

We did all the traditions. I got there at 9 a.m. and we ate a nice meal with some really good meat. We also at the ddeok guk, which is a rice cake soup with meat. In Korean tradition, eating a bowl of this on Sollal will ensure that you turn a year older. I felt the same after eating it, but I guess my knees were a little sore when I stood up. Uh oh.

After that, we play yutnori. It's a game that's played with four sticks. By throwing the sticks, and depending on how they land, you move your pieces around the board. It's almost like a mix between backgammon and Sorry. It's pretty fun. I had played it before, and the rules are pretty basic, but I didn't get a full understanding until this time playing. Her family made sure to explain it all to me. So that's cool.

We also did the traditional bowing to the parents. I bowed alongside Jeong Mi's sister and brother. It was cool to be included in that, and really made me feel a part of the family even more. Also following tradition, her parents gave us pocket money for bowing. I got 20,000 won, while Jeong Mi and her bro only got
15,000 won each. Haha.

It was a really nice day, and once again, I'm honored to be included with her family as a part of it. Her parents and family are very cool. Things just keep coming up roses for Aaron, as my former newspaper editor, Dave, would say.

Check out all the pictures here!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

End of Vacation

It's time to head back to work. I'm sitting here at my desk after a three-week layoff, and it doesn't feel too bad. I wouldn't mind a little more time off, but it's also nice to not feel like a lazy slug anymore.

Fortunately, we have sixth graders this week, and only for three days. Since they're graduating next week, we're just making cookies with them.

That also means I had no morning classes today. That's huge, because I have three weeks worth of prep work I had to catch up on. So this extra morning gave me time to get my schedules and report cards all wrapped up for January and February. Then, we'll have afternoon classes today. I also get to hit the gym after work for the first time since my surgery.

Not much happened over break besides the things I already posted. I went ice skating twice and had my eye surgery. Other than that, it was mostly about resting and hanging out with friends. I appreciate their willingness to hang out, as well, seeing as they didn't have the break that I did.

So it's back to life as I know it. Big things coming this week. Stay tuned!